Monday, November 24, 2008

Our First Lesbians (That We Knew Of) - Part 2

It's a safe bet that Brownie and Brownie's Friend didn't get to their level of scam artistry without being able to read people pretty well. Natural as anything, when they ushered those two women off to the side, Brownie, who always worked the wife, positioned himself to address the lady in the pink sleeveless blouse, leaving Brownie's Friend facing the more tailored woman.

Before Starr Ann and I even had a plan together, we were making tracks in the direction of the hustle in progress, dodging adults and ducking underneath open racing forms. We must have looked like just a couple of pesky kids who'd been turned loose on the betting floor.

When we landed, too quickly and still without a plan, right in the middle of their four surprised faces, Starr Ann blurted, "You can't cheat our moms!"

Brownie was cool as anything, tipping his hat to the one in the pink blouse as he took a couple steps backward, saying something about there must have been a mistake, leaving us alone with the two ladies.

The one with the slicked back blonde hair sized up Starr Ann and me and said, "Your moms, huh?" Then she turned to her friend. "Must've been that night I can't remember at the Dinah Shore a few years back."

The lady in the pink blouse smacked her on the arm real light and laughed, saying, "Stop it, Karen." Then she turned to us and smiled very nicely. "I bet there's a good story behind all this. How about we grab something to eat while you tell us about it? Food's on us."

So Starr Ann and I told Karen and Emily about how we killed time between petting the lead ponies by watching Brownie and Brownie's Friend take people to the betting windows to rip them off. Then we told them about the orphanage, and how we were supposed to be at the library in the afternoons but just couldn't stop ourselves from coming to see the horses every day, and a whole bunch of other stuff that just seemed to fall out of us.

After listening to all that, when the food was gone, you'll never guess what Karen said. She said, "Will you take us to pet the lead ponies with you before the next race?"

It was such an incredible feeling for Starr Ann and me, introducing Karen and Emily to the horses, showing them how Red liked for you to tug on his forelock, telling them about how Hickory Butt would fall sound asleep if you rubbed his ears long enough, and warning them to be careful of Cochise, because he liked to catch you not looking and chomp down kinda hard on your arm. It felt like they were our horses almost. But the most wonderful part was that Karen and Emily were really listening to us. I mean really paying attention, and not because they had to or anything.

After the horses came out on the track, which meant our lead ponies had to get to work, Emily said, "Girls, that's the most fun I've had at the races yet."

Karen made herself real tall by standing up straighter and said, "Maybe that's because those are the fastest horses you've paid attention to at the races yet."

Emily smacked Karen's arm like that again and asked us when the nuns expected us home.

I knew Starr Ann didn't want the day to end, so I said as long as we got home before dark, it was okay.

Well, we had no idea they were going to ask us to their house for supper, but they did!